A local music and theatre group dubbed Tswana Sanctified Voice (TSV) will jet out of the country to London and Newcastle (UK) respectively from 26th April 2018 – 7th May 2018, where they are expected to partake in an annual international festival aptly tagged ‘Thames Concerts’.
The London-based concert is a charitable foundation, which exists to promote and present an annual series of high-quality concerts in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Through its connections, Thames Concerts is able to bring world-class musicians and also provide an opportunity for local youth orchestras and choirs to perform. “The organization also aims to support musical education via our programme of music and other events,” the company said in its website.
The Botswana group, TSV, is a choir of 30 young overzealous singers from different churches such as Methodist, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Trinity and St. John among others. The group’s invitation to UK aptly tagged #RoadtoLondon will see them staging a Setswana play dubbed Kgosi Kgolo. Just yesterday (Wednesday), the group staged an energetically-charged #RoadtoLondon rehearsal at the Anglican Cathedral – opposite Marina Hospital, giving the audience a taste of Kgosikgolo – the Musical’s journey towards going to perform at the Thames Concert in the United Kingdom from next month (April) until 6 May 2018.
“KgosiKgolo the Musical in 2017 was performed three times at Westwood and once at GICC whilst the #RoadtoLondon is a much refined production. This musical is a celebration of Setswana culture focusing on all the activities taking place around a paramount chief’s homestead where the community gather at a Kgotla mastered through song, dance and acting. It tells a story of a young prince who is about to take over from his late father and all the preparations for his coronation. The Musical celebrate activities that are proudly and uniquely Setswana like letsema, letsholo, dikgafela, lenyalo amongst others.”
According to the organization’s website, The Thames Concert is a charitable foundation, which exists to promote and present an annual series of high-quality concerts in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. “Through its connections, Thames Concerts is able to bring world-class musicians and also provide an opportunity for local youth orchestras and choirs to perform. The organization also aims to support musical education via our programme of music and other events.”
Quizzed about the #RoadtoLondon, the group’s spokesperson Ralph Dennison said Botswana having celebrated 50 years of Independence in 2016, the nation saw a lot of developments in various aspects of the economy, making the society more metropolitan. As thus, Dennison said this has led to some of Botswana’s cultural practices becoming somewhat obsolete and in danger of waning into oblivion, which may ultimately lead the nation to lose its identity.
“Kgosi Kgolo is a great vehicle to use to market Botswana internationally. The arts are a very powerful tool in this regard. Countries like South Africa have productions such as Umoya, The Lion King and Sarafina that are well-known all over the world and were used to bring awareness about life in South Africa. Botswana is also moving towards non-conventional ways to market the country, for instance, Made in Botswana by Sedibeng, Gaborone International Music and Culture Week, and even sports like Vincent Crosbie at the Dakar Rally. Therefore, the Kgosi Kgolo production team aims to keep the highest standards to be able to become a flagship of Botswana through the arts around the world”
Excited about their anticipated journey to England, the group says all members of the choir have a strong musical background in the sense that they are self-taught with no professional training but have had the experience of being on stage of great productions like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Annie, Bye-Bye Birdie, Made in Botswana as well as Moratiwa. Dennison noted that preparations regarding the #RoadtoLondon are already at an advanced stage, adding that they are truly ready and raring to share the Botswana story with the rest of the world.
TSV joins other Batswana groups such as Mafitlhakgosi, Mophato Dance Threatre and Ditholwana, just to name a few that have performed and represented Botswana on global stages. “Our aim is to produce a world class act. We conduct intense rehearsals weekly. We’re currently rehearsing two times a week only because of lack of rehearsal space facilities otherwise we would do it everyday. We had a week long workshop last week in Thamaga at The Rock Inn Suites and engaged a physical trainer to help us build stamina.
However, the group is very excited, morale is quite high and everyone can’t wait to hit the stages of London and Newcastle. We are therefore pleading with Batswana to come on board to assist us with sponsorships and help us market our country in a non-conversational way,” pleaded Dennison.